Summit Stones & Adventure Musings

It’s all about the importance of giving back and passing forward…

So says the masthead at Summit Stones & Adventure Musings, a fount of wisdom and inspiration that dares to take us to the “wild places,” the summits, canyons and waters of our imagined and realized adventures.

True to his aspirations, DSD as he is known, has blessed me with an assortment of Summit Stones to deposit in my favorite secret places… to pass forward. Wilderness trails and ethereal peaks in the Blue Ridge and Smokies will become home to these beautiful and spiritual cobblestones that have tasted the elements of DSD’s brush. It is an honor for me to be chosen as an ambassador of smiles.

DSD says he’s, “simply another average adventurer you might meet out on the trail, see wandering across the backcountry, maybe say hi to as we paddle towards each other, or share a few jokes at a common belay station.” DSD encourages us to, “reflect on your own experiences, ponder about what things mean to you, muse again over why you are out in the wilderness and what the natural world has added to your life. Maybe, even consider what part of your… life might involve giving something back to that natural world of adventure.”

DSD and I share an admiration of the environmentalist Edward Abbey, author of Desert Solitaire. We share Abbey’s quest to experience nature in its purest form the silence, the struggle, the overwhelming beauty. I turn to Abbey frequently for encouragement and an infusion of adventure. He motivates me to find my own adventure.

Like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

pair of summit stones

The Summit Stones themselves are small cobblestones that DSD has collected at his “wild places.” Perhaps they were on a summit in the Canadian Rockies or a canyon in the driest desert. Maybe they washed up on a hidden beach reachable only by sea kayak. Each cobblestone is unique and each has special elements “mixed in” with the paints.

“Very small amounts of silt or earth, tiny particles of desert or coastal sand, maybe bits of crumbled leaves, possibly ash or charcoal from old campfires, even pure rain or ocean waters, or the strands of some wild ones’ fur among other unique elements, are gathered from chosen wild places, and other power places.”

“There were deep canyons where I collected the seeping moisture of desert tears and sand crystals never likely touched before. There was also the elemental waters from snow fields, some glaciers too, from last years sun and wind dried alpine flowers, and the aged old pine needles and leaves found near our northern lakes.”

Once DSD has collected his cobblestones and mixings it’s time for further mystery and magic:

“In front of me are quite a number of small Nalgene containers. Each has one of these gathered up elements within it. I know every one well, for the precious gifts they are, from such far away wondrous wild places. I will spend endless hours this winter, learning and practicing how to mix these in with the paints utilized on these Summit Stones the techniques, the swirling in, the composition, and how this then will dry it all intrigues me greatly. Some selected stones absorb them well, while others need to be coaxed along.”

With each painted cobblestone DSD also includes An Adventure Muse, a little guide book of inspiration. It is filled with quotes and ruminations from philosophers and environmentalists, explorers and native wise men. In the forward DSD tells us, “We all have our own mountains to climb and our own ‘summits’ to achieve. Our quest for these ‘summits’ is as important as attaining them.”

DSD has been placing his painted cobblestones at his favorite places for years. The comments on his journal from those who have been fortunate to discover one of his Summit Stones are priceless. The comments are filled with awe and joy, respect and admiration. DSD has also invited a handful of others to spread the Summit Stone love in their little neck of the woods.

stone in hand

Do you understand why I am so honored and pleased to be invited to participate in the passing forward of Summit Stones? It is truly humbling. Click on the image up top to see the beautiful stones DSD sent to me. The stones are little treasures to be found and enjoyed. They represent love of the wilderness. They bring smiles to the faces of those who stumble upon one. The wild places where I deliver a Summit Stone will have special meaning to me the grandest mountain, that glorious overlook, the swirling chroma of a red rock canyon.

These are the places that have led me to reflect. Sitting on an outcrop peering at seemingly endless blue ridges or touching the cool sandstone serenaded by the morning’s aubade. It seems silent, but it isn’t. The wilderness communicates with me. It may be the whispering of the breeze in the pines or the “kronk” of the raven riding the currents. The aromas are unmistakable and the water from a mountain stream pure and refreshing. The dust of the trail and the soreness from the climb are invigorating. I yearn for knowledge. What is that plant, that bird, that daydream? Now, I will also carry smiles with me.

There is more to DSD than love and goodness. His musings on adventure are a poetry of the wilderness. His journal is a place for him to reflect on adventures past and look forward to adventures yet to be. His experience with Outward Bound was a launch of discovery and a commitment to the wilderness. He raises awareness for the many wonderful efforts of those linked under the “Giving Back & Passing Forward” section of his website.

My sincerest thanks go out to DSD for sharing his idea and visions with me. I intend to represent the Summit Stones tradition with respect. Perhaps you will think just a little bit more about the beauty of the wilderness when you are there. Perhaps you will think just a little bit more about the grandeur that surrounds us and the legacy we can leave for those who haven’t yet set foot on this earth. Perhaps you will look just a little bit closer inside that hollow log or among the stones on that cairn. Perhaps you will share some love and give some smiles along the trail. Perhaps you will give back and pass forward. I know I will.


This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.


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